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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Price:£129.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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VINE VOICEon 21 June 2012
I spent a lot of time evaluating music notation software about two years ago and loaded trial versions of them all before deciding. I eventually selected Sibelius 5 Student, it was a little restricted functionally but a decent price for the features on offer.

I've now upgraded to Sibelius 7 First. I did this after downloading the 30-day evaluation version from the Sibelius web site (I'd always recommend that you did this). Sibelius 7 First is a quite a leap forward and now includes several useful features not present in the Student edition that I had.

Sibelius now looks and feels like Microsoft Office 2010, it uses the same arrangement of tabs as the Microsoft suite (not to everybody's taste but seems to work well enough). It will now import 16 bars from a Midi file (as opposed to 12 before) and crucially has about 40 standard plug-ins, including adding note names and or chord symbols (useful for learners). It can scan in sheet music and has the graphical keyboard or fret-board first introduced in Sibelius 6.

It's a huge hike in price to the full version of Sibelius 7 but for students and occasional users Sibelius First is a very powerful, (quite) intuitive music notation package. I have mine connected to my Yamaha piano for note input but mouse, QWERTY keyboard and Midi controller input are also available and almost as convenient.

I cannot think of any reason not to give Sibelius First the full 5 stars. It is as powerful as it is flexible, installed easily and packs in a wealth of features for a modest price. The fully functional 30-day trial downloadable from the Sibelius web site is a great way to gauge whether you can live with it. I haven't found any kind of notation that is not available. Sibelius is the de facto standard music notation software and is going to make sharing scores easier that the (arguably) less popular software.

I think (although I'd need to check) that you can load this onto two PCs for your own use.
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on 24 January 2013
I am an amateur and aspiring jazz guitarist. I bought Sibelius to help me learn to read music because to progress as a guitarist I need to. There is a large world beyond TAB which you can only access if you can "read the dots". Sibelius can do a huge number of things but I'll just focus on the ones I have used. Firstly entering a score is pretty easy from the keyboard and the mouse. You can also scan scores using a plug in program which comes on the CD. Secondly you can "play" the score and listen to the notes as you see them on the screen. Thirdly you can create TAB by copying the "dots" and pasting them on a TAB stave. This is pretty limited however because you cannot choose what position you want to the TAB to be in. Fourthly you can annotate the score with chord frames, Sibelius has a good but limited range of chords but you can create your own. Also printing a score is easy, and via another plug in you can save and view them on an iPad.

Sadly it does not come with a printed manual or a PDF on the CD. You can buy books which teach you, some of which are very complicated.
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on 18 March 2013
I own other music publishing software - but finally caved and bought this student edition for my daughter mainly so her files would be compatible with the school systems. OMG its wonderful. If this is the first and only music publishing software you've ever tried then you probably won't really appreciate all its features. The magnetic layout is a godsend after struggling for years with my old program. It is just so slick and easy to use (but make sure you do at least the first 2 tutorials or else you'll be very confused). My daughter has become an overnight composing wizard churning out stuff so quickly and easily. If you use the sibelius sounds rather than standard Midi playback it's very impressive to listen too. I'm keeping my old software - it allows me to do worksheets and stuff and make up stuff that is "wrong". I assume I would the full Sibelius to mirror that. But for straightforward composing - this is fab.
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on 10 June 2012
Great product. Useful for me for doing my GCSE music compositions. You are restricted to have no more then 16 instruments in a score which I did not like because i like big ensemble music. It comes with a 10gb sound package which sounds really professional and sounds very realistic.

I would recommend this product to anyone if they are not thinking of composing music for orchestra's or concert/marching/brass bands. Apart from that overall brilliant.
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on 25 August 2012
This is a great product for students (GCSE and A Level) and people who use Sibelius from time to time and well worth the money.

I really like the look of it which is set out like Microsoft Word 2010 and it is really easy to navigate.

My favorite feature is the ability to share the music, either by email, PDF, Facebook, YouTube, Sound-cloud, video, the list goes on, so the person you are sending it to does not need Sibelius to view and listen to your music.

Also, as this is a new version, not everyone may have this up to date version. No problem! You can save it so it will open in older versions which is really useful!

Also some information regarding if you can use it onto more than one computer. You are able to load it onto more than one computer, however, you are only able to use it on one computer at a time. This is because to need to activate the System ID and Activation ID you get. You are easily able to activate and deactivate the ID's.

For example if you were using Sibelius 7 First on Computer A and wanted it to use it on Computer B, you would have to deactivate it on Computer A and then activate it on Computer B.

I would thoroughly recommend this product and it is well worth the money!
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on 11 February 2014
Great software - but you'll be on your own as regards support if my experience is typical. I never managed to get through to telephone support and email - apart from an automated acknowledgement - has yet to respond. There's a lot of forum stuff and an extensive knowledge base but as a new user I have had a few issues and Avid haven't shown much interest.

Still no response from support - I have decided to cut my losses and take my custom elsewhere (and that of my students). You have been warned - great software; but once they have your money............
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on 23 September 2012
Very easy to use and create fantastic pieces of music. The ease of listening to it as it is created encourages the student to experiment and learn. Highly recommended as a way of supporting your child in their music studies.
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on 11 January 2014
To get full Sibelius used to cost Fort Knox, but this affordable student version is excellent value for money, allowing you to compose and instantly hear your work with the right instruments. My son who I got it for is delighted with it - it's a must-have tool for music students and composers.
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on 13 June 2015
You need to follow the video help and get the hang of how things work. It is very comprehensive. I tried it first (free download) having before that used some free software - crescendo which was easier to get to grips with, but had fewer options. I like the automatic bar length so rests are put in and changed as you add notes - I have little theory of music knowledge. For what I am going to do it is probably much too advanced, but I can appreciate why it is well thought of as a package. I prefer a one off payment for software so I am not a fan of the subscription option on the full version, but it may be fine for others. I suspect I will never use half of the options it gives and whether I have the patience to go through all the video help is debatable. As others have said, some quick start written guide would not go amiss - the quick start guide with it is on how to install it, not on using it! Very impressed with the pdf reading software that comes on the disc. As I had the download for the main prog I just added a few bits from the disc and activation was simple enough.
Bin the music at start up - luckily you can turn it off!
I am arranging for handbells which are not actually included in the instruments but you can use extra voices to add bells from above and below so it works. All in all it is a very extensive programme, worth the money, but will take some perseverance to get the best out of I suppose. However with a little knowledge and Sibelius First, music writing is much easier and a lot more legible than writing it out by hand.
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on 3 August 2013
Having composed music inside my head since I was a baby, but with no way of sharing it with others other than by humming a tune, I never dreamed that one day I would be able to write scores for a whole orchestra. I bought this software recently and I have already created two CDs. Never having done this kind of thing before, I have had to learn how to write music as well as how to use the software, so it's a steep learning curve, but I'm loving every minute of it and I would like to offer my profound thanks to the creators of this product for making this possible.
The only drawbacks I have found so far are to do with technical problems of computing. I believe that the music is stored in a midi rather than digital format which makes it difficult for other types of software to recognise it, and although you can copy your finished work onto a CD, it won't play on a CD player, so in the end I had to just play it into a microphone connected to Sony Sound Forge on another machine and create a CD from that. There may be a better way to do this which I will discover as I become more experienced but, if not, it is the one recommendation I would offer to the manufacturers: to increase the export options to include wav or MP3 options if possible or provide clear instructions how to work around this. The quality of sound produced on a computer is also very limited but still very satisfying and the real point is that you get to create a printed score so, who knows, one day I may even get to hear a real orchestra playing my music. Thanks Avid.
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